This guest post is by Gabriela.
Divine Canines Annual Barks for Beers 2017 Recap
As the craft beverage industry grows in Austin, so does the community’s willingness to drink beer for a worthy cause.
For the fourth year running, Divine Canines held their annual Barks for Beers fundraiser this past May to support programs providing canine companionship to those in need. Participants purchased a special pint glass and “pawsport” for $20, then visited the participating breweries for a free pour and stamp in their pawsport.
Over 35 local breweries and retailers offered pawsports for Barks for Beers 2017 participants
The People and the Pups
Founded in 2004, Divine Canines sports the tagline “ordinary dogs, extraordinary service,” and partners with local dogs and their owners to offer pet therapy that promotes physical and emotional wellness. Divine Canines’ programs serve a diverse range of populations in Central Texas, providing free therapy dog services to children struggling with literacy or dyslexia, adults and veterans with disabilities, hospitalized patients in rehabilitation facilities, and many others.
Unlike other pet therapy programs, Divine Canines does not discriminate by breed, so any dog and handler team is eligible as long as they can meet the requirements. By accepting breeds not traditionally accepted for therapy programs, Divine Canines provides the opportunity for more dogs and humans to make a positive impact in their communities.
“When Dixie and I had a bit of a challenge passing the [Divine Canines] Good Citizen test, I decided to apply to a group that doesn’t require that test. The immediate response was that she was ineligible for their group because she looks like she might have a little bit of pit bull in her. They didn’t even want to meet her. We went back to try again for Divine Canines and were given so much support and positivity that we finally made it.” – Caren, Devine Canine volunteer
This year, “Barks for Beers” expanded to include 30 participating breweries, a sizeable increase from 20 breweries in 2016. Although the final numbers are still being tallied, both Divine Canines and the participating breweries reported a substantive rise in participation this year, and many of the breweries and retailers selling the pint glasses and pawsports sold out of their supplies well before the end of the month.
“I’m setting attendance records,” said Dave at Thousand Oaks Brewing, “I’m glad we’re getting our name out there.”
With the increase in traffic, breweries took the opportunity to educate visitors about the process of brewing and the current state of the craft beer industry in Texas. Many brewers gave additional tours or hands-on activities, such as Adam at Strange Land Brewery, who shared a bag of citra hops with visitors, showing them how to crush the hops to release the scent and compare it to the flavor of the beers they sampled. Several brewers discussed the potential downstream impacts of Texas House Bill 3287 on their business if the bill were to become law.
Bartenders also took the steady stream of Barks for Beers participants in stride, serving up a sense of humor to new patrons along with their free pour. Milton at Infamous Brewing told participants: “I’ll give you your beer, but you have to bark for it first!” and pawsport stampers posed for pictures with enthusiastic participants.
Max serves a pawsport stamp and a Rocket 100 Pilsner at the ABGB
With the resounding popularity of this year’s Barks for Beers, Divine Canines expects to net over 60% more in proceeds than they did for the 2016 event, and will use the funds to expand their services. This year, the organization has already dispatched over 80 dog and handler teams, that have logged over 760 visits to volunteer sites and recorded more than 14,000 interactions with the people they serve.
Of course, these numbers don’t tell the whole story. Max Woodfin, Executive Director of Divine Canines, shared the impressive metrics but also noted, “I can give you all the statistics, but what you really can’t measure, is smiles.”
Divine Canine Ollie and his handler Jena make a friend at Hi Sign Brewing
You can read more about the Barks for Beers participating breweries, learn the background stories of Divine Canine teams like Caron and Dixie, and dig into cool beer datasets on data.world: https://data.world/gswider/barking-for-beer-a-tour-of-austins-top-breweries
Want to learn how your dog can become a Divine Canine? Visit the Divine Canines website for more information on how to get involved: http://divinecanines.org/
Gabriela works at data.world as a Marketing Specialist and serves as “Chief Brewmaster” for their [home] brewing company, data.beer. Newly landed in Austin after several years of traveling the country, Gabriela loves exploring all that Texas has to offer. When not working or visiting local breweries, Gabriela enjoys taking cross-country road trips, hiking, camping, and brewing her own beer.